So you’re wondering what to do with a pile of VHS cassettes in old storage boxes. Is there a way to convert VHS cassettes to digital format? Or do you need to buy a VHS player to watch home movies and videos?
As a man with a large VHS collection, I decided it was time to take care of it once and for all. It turned out that there are different ways to convert VHS tapes to digital video files that can be stored on a computer or external hard drive or downloaded to the cloud.
What you need is a VHS digital converter. These are small devices that link a VCR to another device (such as a laptop) and record and convert VHS media to digital files.
There are many on the market, with a wide range of prices, but you are probably wondering which is the best VHS to digital converter. I’ve put together a few that I think are the best below.
1 – DIGIT NOW! VHS video recording to digital converter
Digital! Recording a VHS video in a digital converter is a very practical tool. If this works, run the RCA cable from the converter to the VCR, turn on the player and press the record button on the converter.
What you need to know about this VHS digital converter is that it stores the converted files on a Micro SD card, which needs to be inserted into the slot.
The SD card acts as an internal memory and, once added, you can copy files directly from the camera using a USB cable. It is very comfortable and easy to use.
Digital! No software is needed for the VHS digital converter, everything is ready to use, it’s great. Just use the preview image and the navigation buttons to select the section you want to save and convert.
2 – DIGIT NOW! Video recording for PC or Mac via USB
From the same manufacturer, this device is cheaper than the previous one, but it requires software. The advantage of this converter is that it is probably one of the easiest to use, apart from the installation of the software, it is very simple.
This VHS digital converter works by connecting the USB end to your computer and the other end, which contains the RCA cables, to your DVR. From there, start the software on your computer, click Play on the VCR and it should detect the signal and start the conversion.
Files are stored directly on your computer via USB. It is compatible with Windows 7, 10 and Mac, but some people have difficulty installing software on the latest Mac and Windows 10.
Required software :
ArcSoft ShowBiz software is required and an installation DVD is included. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like you can download this special software, it is only available on DVD.
If you don’t have a DVD drive on your computer, you can use other free editing programs that can be downloaded online, such as VideoGlide Capture or Empia.
3 – UCEC VHS to All-in-One Digital to USBConverter
This VHS to USB digital converter is another inexpensive device that looks exactly like its predecessor. The main difference is in the software. Although the ICEC contains the VHS to Digital Converter software (on DVD), you are not obliged to use it.
In fact, most Mac users recommend using Quicktime Player to capture the video source and then edit it with free editing software such as IMovie.
It is also compatible with Windows. Finding a way to record a video can be a bit complicated, but it’s either a matter of using their software or finding one that can play the source.
My VCR does not have RCA connectors:
Most VHS digital converters use RCA cables to transfer the signals, but some DVRs, especially those in the UK, only use the SCART connector.
The good news is that you can buy cable adapters and scart-to-RCA cables for a few pounds, and they usually get the job done. These cables can also be used to connect old equipment to your TV.
Scart and RCA use analog signals, so no active conversion is needed. Now, if you want to use the above products with a VCR without RCA, an adapter like this SCART to a female RCA can be used for this purpose.
There are many other cables and adapters available, and they are all very cheap.
Where do I save my converted video files?
If you have successfully converted VHS tapes, you may be wondering where you can keep all these files for a long time.
There are two possibilities: Store files in the cloud or on an external hard drive If these videos are particularly valuable, I suggest that you make copies of them in the cloud, on your personal computer and on an external hard drive for added security.
The simplest cloud storage will be Google Drive, but there are many other options, including Dropbox, One Drive, iCloud and even Amazon Cloud Drive.
This depends on the number of files to be saved and their size. In most cases these files are not very large, so you don’t need a lot of space.
How do I clean an old VCR?
If you haven’t used a VCR for a long time, the easiest way to clean an old VCR is to purchase a VHS cleaning cassette that cleans the video heads and mechanisms. Let the tape run for 20 minutes and everything will be fine.
I wonder which VCR to buy. I recommend the VHS HQ cleaning cassette CLP-029. I suggest you turn the tape before trying to use the VHS digital converter, because you want the recording to be as clear as possible.
Even if the VCR works, it would be a good idea to rotate the cassette around to clean it, especially if the player has been collecting dust for years.